The Good Reverend
Monday, September 29, 2003
Now, if Plame were an analyst, what would she tell people?
Via Crooked Timber, I came across this post from Jim Henley's blog, Unqualified Offerings:
    Come to think of it, a fun Washington fact I learned years ago from my buddy Toiler, who really is an analyst for the CIA. If someone asks him where he works, he has to tell them he works for the CIA. He is not to lie or dodge the question. Why? So he won't ruin it for the people that do have to lie or dodge the question.
Henley explains why this is evidence that Plame really did work for "the Agency's clandestine [read: covert] services division".
Watching the Spin
Here's how the online media is covering Plamegate, as of 11:00PM EST:

CNN: Top story of the site; quotes Novak's "nobody in the White House called me" Crossfire revelation, but immediately launches into "The leak could constitute a felony". A seperate article about Novak is linked from the front page, but clearly isn't the top story, and includes a bare-bones definition of the IIP Act at the end. Both articles quote Wilson extensively.

MSNBC: Top story of the site; Novak isn't mentioned until three quarters through the article, and his Crossfire statements aren't played up very much. The second story linked from the front page is analysis on how the Democrats stand to benefit from this "whodunit" scandal.

Top story on CBSNews.com, citing the White House denial as the headline. The article reveals that the FBI and the counter-espionage division of the Justice Department have launched investigations into Plamegate, saying the leak is "a federal crime that could endanger the agent and compromise her contacts".
FoxNews.com's front page is dedicated to Schwarzenegger and Novak isn't mentioned anywhere. The article is from the Associated Press and Novak still isn't mentioned. The article contains a new (at least to me) revelation:
    White House officials, at their senior staff meeting, were urged to contact Justice if they had relevant information, officials said.
... and a good quote:
    [White House Press Secretary] McClellan said White House officials were not trying to determine on their own what had happened or who was involved. "Are we supposed to chase down every anonymous report in the newspaper? We'd spend all our time doing that." (No, Mr. McClellan, just the ones that break the law and compromise Iraq war plans.)
ABCNews.com carries Plamegate as its top story; headline: "White House Denies Leaking CIA Agent's ID". The article (like FoxNews.com's) is from the Associated Press.

NYTimes.com: carries a relatively pro-White House spin in its headline: "A Top Bush Aide Didn't Identify C.I.A. Agent, White House Says". A more accurate headline would read, "White House: Rove Didn't Identify C.I.A. Agent". The article links Plamegate with Iraq:
    The growing furor underscored the Bush administration's continued political vulnerability on the issue of whether it exaggerated the threat from Iraq before the war. The developments also raised questions about the relationship between the White House and George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence.
Novak's quote isn't mentioned until the second page of the article.

WashingtonPost.com: up-to-date headline: "Bush Promises Action if Aides Had Role in Leak"; Novak on Crossfire isn't mentioned until halfway through the article, and only after revealing that another reporter, who remains anonymous, confirmed being contacted by "an administration official" before Novak's column was published, calling it an effort to discredit Wilson. Includes this bit of info:
    Some congressional Democrats insisted on the need for a special counsel yesterday. In a letter to Ashcroft, Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (S.D.) and Sens. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.), Carl M. Levin (Mich.) and John D. Rockefeller IV (W.Va.) requested a special counsel "because of the obvious and inherent conflicts of interests involved."
USAToday.com: Pays close attention to Bush's signing of the Do-Not-Call list legislation, but gives some prominance to Plamegate, calls Novak's Crossfire moment a "new wrinkle", and adds that Senator and presidential candidate Joe Lieberman (D-CT) will introduce legislation to re-enact the law that allowed the use of independent counsels to investigate suspected White House misdoings. The law expired in 1999.

Novak's Crossfire moment is the top story on Drudge. No surprise there. However, NewsMax.com buries a hard spin article on Wilson's downplay of his previous "Karl Rove frog-marched" comment.

Plamegate is third from the top on LATimes.com. I honestly didn't feel like re-registering for the site to read the article.

The New York Post site barely mentions the affair, but carries an Associated Press article. Same with the Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, Sacramento Bee, Detroit Free Press, and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The Miami Herald site at least gives the maturing scandal "TOP NATION / WORLD NEWS" billing.

There's no mention of Plamegate at all on the front page of WashTimes.com, nor in the "Nation/Politics" area. A search reveals a single UPI article from today, but wherever it's linked from, it's buried.

All in all, the maturing scandal still stands on four energetic legs, despite Novak's "new wrinkle", which is getting buried amonst the noise while much of the conservative press nearly flat-out ignores the issue. The Plame Affair could still be buried in the news by the upcoming (expected) Schwarzenegger win in California, as is evidenced by the papers on the west coast, but, should another damaging revelation come up soon, it'll probably still be alive and kicking when the press (outside of California, at least) gets bored with Gov. Arnold.
Friday, September 26, 2003
Nugent: Facts didn't exist 100 years ago, so why should I check them now?
Via Atrios, we can see that Tom Nugent also has a problem with fact-checking.

Atrios has pointed out that Nugent believes that there was no national debt 100 years ago and that he's wrong.

Nugent lists a whole bunch of other taxes that didn't exist 100 years ago. He would be right...

... about the Federal Income Tax if he had written the article in 1961.

... about "Court Fines (indirect taxes)" if he had written the article in 1667.

... to put his name on the byline if he were the original author of the text.

Also, all the stuff about fuel, road usage taxes, recreational vehicle taxes, toll booth taxes, telephone taxes, etc., would be valid points... if there were more than merely 8,000 cars, 144 miles of paved roads, and if more than 8% of households had telephones.
Thursday, September 25, 2003
Twenty-Seven Weeks and Counting
    "And I said on my program, if, if the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it's clean, he has nothing, I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush administration again."
That was Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly on ABC's Good Morning America, March 18. [Attribution]

Here's some more words of wisdom from Mr. No-Spin:
    "If he doesn't have any weapons, then we are doing the wrong thing."
and...
    "...if weapons of mass destruction aren't found, your reputation, my reputation -- because I will have to apologize because I bought into it, I bought into it."
It's been six months and one week (or twenty-seven weeks) since Mr. O'Reilly's appearance on Good Morning America.

Perhaps a campaign needs to be mounted by the blogosphere to remind Mr. O'Reilly to make good on his promise.
Bloggers, 2; David Limbaugh, 0.
Via Atrios, Demagogue has a post up about a recent column from Ann Coulter in which she praises David Limbaugh's forthcoming book, "Persecution". This is the second time details from the book have surfaced, and it's the second time they've been attacked.
Compare and Contrast
Fox News Senior VP Jim Rutenberg in an August memo:
    "The urge may seem irresistible to play off Arnold Schwarzenegger's acting career. Resist it. Otherwise the effect is often to belittle the candidacy of the front-runner for one of the most important offices in the U.S., and that's not fair and balanced."
Arnold Schwarzenegger to Ariana Huffington in the recall debate:
    "I just realized I have a perfect part for you in 'Terminator 4,'"
They decide, they report.
Petition to Remove Rumsfeld
Ordinarally, I wouldn't post a link to an internet petition, but MoveOn has some credibility from the pre-war protests, not to mention a gigantic audience. At the moment, they're encouraging that audience to support a petition to "Fire Rumsfeld". They're trying to reach a tally point of 250,000 people at the moment, all of which will be forwarded to appropriate members of Congress. Go sign it.
Monday, September 22, 2003
Another bomb at UN HQ in Baghdad
Associated Press:

    A suicide bomber, his body wrapped in explosives and his car filled with 50 pounds of TNT, struck a police checkpoint outside U.N. headquarters in Baghdad on Monday, killing an Iraqi policeman who stopped him and wounding 19 people.
Bush addresses the UN tomorrow.
With no opponents on the ballot, candidate loses election.
Story.

    Carl Miner of Blytheville has gotten a very important lesson on why voters should go to the polls .

    Miner was on Tuesday's ballot, unopposed for a school board seat in south Mississippi County. No one voted for him -- and the candidate didn't even cast a ballot for himself.
I don't know whether to laugh or to cry.
David Limbaugh's "Persecution"
... looks to be about as credible as some of Ann Coulter's distortions. So it shouldn't surprise you that David Limbaugh is Rush Limbaugh's brother.

From Matt Drudge comes another "news" flash about another right-wing book. Not that there's anything wrong with right-wing books -- it's just that the Drudge and Newsmax types seem to push books that lack any intellectual value. And David Limbaugh's new book, "Persecution", looks to be yet another one of 'em.

I don't know much about Limbaugh's book yet, but let's take a look at what Drudge has provided us with:

    **IN 1776, 99.8% OF THE PEOPLE IN AMERICA WERE PROFESSED CHRISTIANS
There were half a million Native Americans and half a million African slaves in the (to be) United States in 1776, compared with about two million (or so) colonialists. Unless I'm mistaken, the majority of the Native Americans were probably not Christian, nor were a good portion of the African slaves. So, unless they're not "people", the statistic referenced by Matt Drudge and David Limbaugh is grossly incorrect. Or they're just not being completely open about the scope of the 1776 poll.

    *In April 2001, the Logan County Public Library in Bowling Green, Kentucky, fired employee Kimberly Draper for wearing a necklace with a cross pendant to work
... and a Federal Judge ruled that this "was an unconstitutional violation of free-speech rights".

    *A New Jersey teacher was forced by an ACLU suit to abandon plans to take children to see the Broadway version of “A Christmas Carol.”
The ACLU didn't sue anybody -- the school principal did it because "A Christmas Carol" had little to do with the curriculum, and the kids instead went to see the play, "The Great Railroad Race". The outrage wasn't even brought up by parents who didn't want their kids subjected to the horrors (I'm being sarcastic) of Christianity -- it was brought up by Meg Uhlman, who was outraged that the kids were going to see "The Great Railroad Race" instead of "A Christmas Carol". Look, lady, if you want your kid and his or her classmates to see a play that has absolutely nothing to do with what they're studying, pay for it yourself. Unless, of course, when I have my own kids (:shudder:), the school pays their way to go see the new Arnold movie.

A search of the ACLU's site turns up nothing about "A Christmas Carol". I've dispatched an email to the ACLU to see if they can provide more information about the incident and I'll post again when (or if) I get more information.

    *School officials in Windsor, Virginia prohibited two graduating seniors from singing “The Prayer,” a popular song sung by Celine Dion, among others. When the students raised their first amendment rights, the school announced there would be no singing of any sort at the graduation ceremony.
If you read the lyrics to "The Prayer", it's really a no-brainer. But, The Rutherford Institute filed a lawsuit against the school less than two months ago, and it hasn't yet gone to trial.

    "This book chronicles discrimination against Christians in American society. While tolerance is touted as the highest virtue in our popular culture, Christians are often subjected to scorn and ridicule and denied their religious freedoms."
Christians are as free as the ACLU to challenge discrimination in court. So far, Drudge and Limbaugh have cited a case without mentioning that the courts sided in the Christian's favor, misrepresented the ACLU (as far as I can tell) in a case where a mother had delusional fantasies that because her kid was going to a different play it was because the title of the play had the word "Christmas" in it, and have cited an incident in which students weren't allowed to sing Christian songs at their high school graduation.

Looks like a real winner, David.
Saturday, September 20, 2003
Ashcroft is lying
In the tradition of the rest of the Bush administration, Attorney General John Ashcroft says one thing while those under his command do the exact opposite. This one is about the libraries, as Talk Left and Martha Bridegam point out an article in USA Today in which various libraries report being contacted by the FBI for patron records, despite Ashcroft's claim otherwise:
    "The number of times section 215 has been used to date is zero."
Elisabeth Riba notes that the Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act contains a gag order:
    (d) No person shall disclose to any other person (other than those persons necessary to produce the tangible things under this section) that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has sought or obtained tangible things under this section.
Thus, as Lis notes, anybody who has the knowledge to contradict Ashcroft, can't.
Note to Clark team: How to get Revenge
Talking Points Memo has a great Dean retrospective, looking back on his fine, pre-war performance on Face The Nation, in which he says things like:

    My question is not that we may not have to go into Iraq. We may very well have to go into Iraq. What is the rush? Why can't we take the time to get our allies on board? Why do we have to do everything in a unilateral way?

Why is it now that Clark has said that he would have probably voted for the Iraq Congressional resolution, he's getting hammered in the press:


    On the third day of his campaign, Gen. Wesley K. Clark struggled today to clarify his statement on Thursday that he would "probably" have voted for the Congressional resolution authorizing the invasion of Iraq.

Clark team take note: I'm sure you're still smarting from that leak (allegedly from the Dean folks) right before the General's candidacy announcement. Get some revenge by quitely reporting TPM's findings to the press and undercut Dean's support from the anti-war crowd.
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Star Tribune rips Cheney a new one
(Thanks to Atrios)

Editorial: Truth / Too little of it on Iraq (Star Tribune).

The editorial focuses on statements made by Cheney on Meet the Press (and elsewhere), but concludes by demanding that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz be "called to account for their deliberate misstatements".
Tuesday, September 16, 2003
Rumsfeld comes clean on Iraq-9/11 connection (almost)
(via Atrios)

Story (Associated Press)

At a Pentagon news conference, Rumsfeld was asked about a poll that indicated nearly 70 percent of respondents believed the Iraqi leader probably was personally involved.

"I've not seen any indication that would lead me to believe that I could say that," Rumsfeld said.
(Emphasis mine)

Gosh, Donny-R, there's a difference between being able to say it and it being true.


First shots against Clark fired
Matt Drudge has a link up to this March 2000 BBC News story about the Russian standoff at Pristina airport during the Kosovo war, and suggests that General Sir Mike Jackson, a British commander, had to stop Clark from starting "the Third World War".

The story goes like this: the Ruskies expected control of their own sector of Kosovo, but didn't get it. So, they unilaterally took the airport against the wishes of multilateral forces, under the command of NATO Supreme Commander Gen. Clark. Wesley Clark, with the support of NATO Secretary General Javier Solana, wanted to put forces into place to block the Russians from assuming control of the airport. When Jackson vetoed the proposed counter-maneuver, Clark backed down and asked Hungary and Romania to deny the Russians access to their airspace.

Here's where it gets good: "During the stand-off, Moscow insisted its troops would be answerable only to its own commanders."

Gee, this sounds familiar, doesn't it? Bush wants the support of the United Nations in Iraq, but doesn't want the U.N. to have control over U.S. forces (BBC).

The simple fact of the matter is that Clark did NOT put forces in place, obeying the British veto and a compromise (Times of India) was reached in which the Russians were put in charge of the Pristina airport. Meanwhile, Bush goes against the clear wishes of the international community and invades a sovereign nation under curious pretenses. And don't forget that during the 11-week Kosovo campaign, not ONE American or British soldier was killed in action.

Well, now, the second post. Expect a third in April!

Anyway, things have progressed in life. I'll spare the details, but I'm running with a new crowd of people now. After my ex (Chris) dumped me on Valentine's Day, I had very, very few people to hang out with -- especially since she decided that to "get over" me, she couldn't see me at all (meaning that I couldn't hang out with many of my high school and post-high school friends). I ran into an old friend from middle school (Brooke), who introduced me to some new people she had just met (she was in the same situation I was). Things have progressed from there.

I don't know, though. I like my friends, but I don't want to stay here. I've got amazing friends in Whittier, CA and I definitely want to go back there. From a positive perspective, it's good to know that I'll still have friends in Boulder when I return, which is a far different perspective than seven months ago.

I'm in school again -- Front Range Community College. It's a CC, I know, but I've met some cool people there and it's enough to get my parents to let me go back to Whittier. The problem is that I'm running into the same problems I always do: I don't want to go to class, and then I don't go, and then I'm too afraid of how far behind I am to even return to class. This week, though, I'm sucking it up and just going -- I'd rather be behind and in class than not in class at all.

Plus, if I do well in school, my parents will give me $20,000 for a car. There are lots of conditions attached -- mainly on what kind of car I could get. I'm thinking WRX.

Anyway, I'm still not sure what to do with this blog. I'll probably just turn it into a spectacle of my garden-variety interests: music, politics, and whatever is going on in my life.

Then again, nobody's reading this. (Not even me -- I can't read.)
politics, music, drugs, and humor.

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